In these verses the people were physically thirsty but didn’t have any water that was fit to drink. Once again Moses prayed and God supplied their needs by having Moses put a piece of wood into the water to make it drinkable. God took care of their physical thirst.
However, there are more ways people can be thirsty. There is the physical thirst, but there are also emotional and spiritual thirsts that people don’t often recognize. There is a thirst to be accepted, to be loved, to be wanted, to be recognized. Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount talked about people who would hunger and thirst for righteousness. With all of the complaining that the Israelites were doing to Moses, even after experiencing God’s miraculous power, maybe they were thirsty for something other than just water.
The woman at the well who met Jesus was, as the old song title says, “looking for love in all the wrong places”. She had been married 5 times and the man she was living with wasn’t her husband. Since she was at the well in the afternoon instead of the morning like all the other women in the village would have been, she was probably rejected by them and was thirsty to be accepted. She probably put on a “good face” and pretended that their insults and looks didn’t hurt, but they did. She was emotionally thirsty!
Jesus saw through all of it and offered her living water that would quench her thirst and she would never be thirsty for love and acceptance again.
Just like Moses took the piece of a tree that God had provided out in the desert to make the water sweet again, He supplied a branch off of His own family tree, His son Jesus, to quench her spiritual thirst.
And Jesus is here to quench our thirsts, too, if we will let him.
The Lyrics of the Song Come to the Well by Casting Crowns says it all:
“I have what you need
But you keep on searchin’
I’ve done all the work
But you keep on workin’
When you’re runnin’ on empty
And you can’t find the remedy
Just come to the well
You can spend your whole life
Chasin’ what’s missing
But that empty inside
It just ain’t gonna listen
When nothing can satisfy
And the world leaves you high and dry
Just come to the well
And all who thirst will thirst no more
And all who search will find what their souls long for
The world will try, but it can never fill
Leave it all behind, and come to the well
So, bring me your heart
No matter how broken
Just come as you are
When your last prayer is spoken
Just rest in my arms a while
You’ll feel the change my child
When you come to the well”
What are you thirsty for? Be honest! Leave it all behind and just come to the well of living water, take a deep drink and thirst no more!